Posts

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It Might be a Train

Have you heard the expression, “That light at the end of the tunnel might be a train?” For a lot of us who work in the energy sector, the impact of the rapid drop in the price of oil has felt like being hit by a train we didn’t see coming. The ripple effect on other industries hasn’t started yet but the forecasters tell us it won’t be long.

So what do we do now? Hunker down and play it safe or find ways to be creative?

It is easy to keep doing what works when times are good. In the face of an unexpected setback, our first response may not be stepping out of our comfort zone. Research published in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology suggests that any experience, good or bad, can lead to creativity if it pushes us outside our normal thought patterns.

If you use this opportunity to think creatively about your business, your team or yourself, how might you ride that train through the downturn and be well-positioned for the recovery?

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Stay in Your Lane

I had a conversation recently with a woman who was chastised by her boss for venturing too far outside her job description. Since she thrives on creativity, she was very discouraged and demotivated.   As she talked more about it, she realized that this attitude is pervasive in her company.  It didn’t take long before she was questioning whether this was the right place for her.

Rules Are Necessary Too

What message are you sending to your team members about staying in their lane?  Of course, in some functions following the rules is required and valued.  Does that mean you don’t want people thinking creatively and trying to come up with better ways of doing things?

It’s a Judgement Call

It could be that you are more comfortable staying in your lane, so it might feel a little threatening for someone on your team to get too far from the norm.  It might be more challenging to motivate people who don’t like to stay in their lane.  At the end of the day, you have to decide what is most valuable to your organization.

Unpopularity

People who stray outside their lane often challenge the status quo, which isn’t always a popular position.  Politics aside, think of the impact of those who did:  Martin Luther King, Jr., Steve Jobs, Gloria Steinem, and more recently, Ted Cruz.  Can you afford not to have some nonconformists in your company?